Gay and Lesbian Elders (LGBT Elders)

The percentage of LGBT older adults will rise from 13 percent to an expected 19 percent in 2030 once the millennials age. To provide equitable, qualified, and high-quality care, psychological assistance professionals and carers for older individuals must be attentive to the backgrounds and worries of LGBT individuals as well as expansive, embracing, and encouraging LGBT elderly individuals. LGBT caregivers may experience special difficulties such as information dissemination and social alienation.

Who are LGBT People?

Individuals who identify as homosexual (gay, lesbian), bisexual, or transgender are also known as 'Queer,' as are others who do not identify with this terminology, such as Intersex, Asexual, and others. The term 'queer' has a historical and political significance, which may explain why it is referred to as 'LGBTQIA+' (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual, and the '+' symbol implies that the constructions are always growing). The term 'queer' was originally used as a pejorative or slang for those who are unusual and do not seem or behave 'normally.' 'Normal,' of course, alludes to 'heteronormativity,' the belief that sexual and romantic relationships may occur only between opposite sexes, i.e., man and woman.

Limitations of LGBT Older Adults

Age-related financial and health inequities are particularly pronounced among older LGBT persons. Owing to a lifespan of particular stressors inherent with their status as a minority, they could be disproportionately impacted by impoverishment and physical and psychological concerns. They may also be more susceptible to negligence and abuse in senior living institutions. Due to both their seniority and their sexual inclination or gender orientation, they may experience double prejudice. Older LGBT persons may be less outspoken about their orientation due to age diversity and a shortage of statutory safety. LGBT older individuals have a higher probability of dwelling in solitary, being unmarried, and having fewer kids than their heterosexual compatriots, which raises concerns about social isolation. Sex, race, ethnicity, and disability crossings can all exacerbate the effects of these factors.

Whether they choose to reveal it or not, psychologists, mental institutions, and aging programs that serve older folks are interacting with LGBT people; as such, providers should be aware of their availability and incorporate their particular requirements into care systems. Services designed for older adults must be evaluated continuously, and modifications should be made to make them inclusive for older LGBT individuals.

Two-pronged Discrimination

Some elderly LGBT individuals cannot access the care they require because of prejudice and misinformation among healthcare professionals. A significant portion of grownups belongs to the LGBT community, which emphasizes the discrepancy between the public's idea of a homogenous LGBT community and the actuality of a varied population regarding racial and ethnic background, Gender, and age. Many elderly Americans may engage in same-sex conduct or infatuation but refrain from identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual due to social taboos or worry about harassment.

  • Invisible Generation − Earliest LGBT persons (1920s-30s), came up in an era when the public discourse on LGBT individuals was virtually nonexistent

  • Silent Generation − 1930s-40s, faced strong public backlash

  • Pride Generation − 1950s-1960s, started revolution

The "Invisible Generation," which includes the earliest LGBT persons, was born in the 1920s and 30s and endured the Great Depression and World War II. They came up in an era when the public discourse on LGBT individuals was virtually non-existent. The strong public backlash towards gay, lesbian, and bisexual personnel and the pathologizing of homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a medical manual, were witnessed by the "Silent Generation," who were grown in the 1930s and 1940s. The Stonewall revolution (the rebellion, protests, and parades in reaction to police misconduct against LGBT individuals in 1969) was started by the "Pride Generation," which was born in the 1950s and 1960s. They also witnessed the gradual decriminalization of sodomy, which had previously patrolled the existences of LGB people.

Resiliency among LGBT Elders

Considering that most of their encounters as younger folks occurred while being LGBT was less welcomed or even criminalized—LGBT elders exhibit extraordinary resilience in several ways. They might have encountered assault, prejudice at work, and family disapproval, among other things. Elderly LGBT adults than youthful LGBT persons initially stepped out to their intimate relatives or friends at an older period. The history of older LGBT persons up until this point gives them a favorable perspective on the development of fairness.

Elderly LGBT people of Colour

One in five (20%) LGBT senior citizens are persons of color; by 2050, that number is anticipated to quadruple. LGBT individuals of color encounter things differently because of their sexual preference, gender expression, race, and ethnicity. Numerous discrepancies in physical and psychological health outcomes, financial stability, and encounters with prejudice for LGBT people of color and LGBT older adults of color specifically are found in the research.

Bisexual Adults

Over 50% of the adolescent LGB community is bisexual. However, the proportion is lower amongst older folks. Relative to their gay and lesbian friends, older bisexual individuals encounter particular difficulties, according to research. Bisexual older persons, for instance, might be less prone to be "out" regarding their sexual preference, which exacerbates the social exclusion experienced by LGBT older adults. One study of older LGBT individuals revealed that one-third of the respondents experienced moderate to profound depression, possibly due to insufficient emotional assistance and higher unfavorable relationships with their families. This alienation has a substantial influence on health and well-being.

Transgender Elders

Elderly transgender people have unique health requirements, notably the need for transition-related treatments. Their well-being deteriorates when transgender elders are compelled to go back into the shadows because of prejudice or shame. Obtaining services and assistance for older persons who cross over later in life comes with additional physical ailments.

What Distinguishes LGBT Adults' Ageing from that of Other Adults?

LGBT older adults have been severely affected by the dearth of societal and juridical recognition of LGBT individuals throughout history and in the present. Healthy aging is facilitated by access to quality healthcare, a secure financial future, and substantial societal and familial ties. Sadly, when contrasted with their heterosexual contemporaries, LGBT elders indicate discrepancies in precisely these domains which are−

  • LGBT seniors have catastrophic financial instability due to decades of bigotry, particularly in accommodation and employment, as well as a protracted absence of legal and institutional acceptance.

  • Due to familial disapproval and institutionalized discrimination, LGBT elders become dependent on their selected families, which makes them vulnerable and socially isolated.

  • Specific inequities in physical and mental well-being are caused by long-term discrimination and a lack of professional, integrative healthcare.


The LGBT elderly of the present is comprised of three eras of LGBT grownups who are largely responsible for the histories and recollections of the LGBT population. Given the youth of the current LGBT movement, many pioneers who were there when it first began are still living.

LGBT elders must get skilled, thorough care and assistance, not only because those facilities are fundamental human rights but also to uphold the integrity and well-being of the change-makers who set the stage for our community's great accomplishments. LGBT senior citizens have served as the vanguard of the struggle for justice and equity. Additionally, as individuals age, they have an entitlement to autonomy and encouragement. LGBT elders and their supporters strive to eliminate societal and institutional obstacles to effective aging at the congressional, provincial, and municipal levels of government, organizations, and communities

Updated on: 05-Apr-2023


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